FBI warns: Never charge your cell phone at the airport

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Quickly charging your phone and laptop at the airport before departure? You’d better not. Cybercriminals could rip you off, warns the FBI.

Quickly charge your cell phone or laptop before your flight so that you board the plane with enough battery power – you’ve probably already done this without any ulterior motive. However, the TikTok account “travelpiratesus” advises against this – because the FBI warns against it.

The 6.7 million views show that the TikTok video has caused quite a stir. In it, the TikToker explains that cyber criminals use public power sockets, for example, at airports, to steal your data. This type of fraud is called “juice jacking.”

But how does it work? Juice jacking is a cyber attack via the power supply of a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or other mobile device.

If you charge your cell phone using a prepared charging station or cable, the connection to the USB port, which is responsible for charging the device and transferring data, is exploited. This allows malware to be loaded onto the cell phone.

The FBI’s warning shows that TikTok’s claim is not made up of thin air. On the official website of the US Central Security Agency, the FBI points out a potential risk: “Cybersecurity experts warn that criminals can load malware onto public USB charging stations to access electronic devices while they are charging maliciously.”

It says the malware can lock devices or export personal data and passwords directly to the perpetrators. “Criminals can then use this information to access online accounts or sell them to other criminals.”

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